What is a Death Benefit Rider?

Life insurance is traditionally understood as helping people plan and prepare for the end of their lives. Many policyholders aim to use the amount of their plan to help beneficiaries pay for things like funeral costs, to settle final arrangements or to help reduce debt once they have passed. However, after the lifelong investment that many sink into a plan, they should be able to use the value whenever they need it and, that’s where a death benefit rider may come in. How Does a Death Benefit Rider Work? A rider functions like an add-on to an insurance plan, allowing the policyholder to opt for certain protections that are customized to his or her particular situation. There are different forms a death benefit rider can take, but many center on giving the individual access to the cash value of his or her insurance plan while he or she is still alive. For instance, an accelerated death benefit generally enables policyholders who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to draw cash advances against the value of the death benefit. Another option is the enhanced death benefit, which pays out the highest investment gain the policy attained, even if the market value is less. Those with a variable annuity death benefit may be able to attach riders to enable cash advances and a payout that is higher than the minimum. Pros and Cons of Death Benefit Riders Death benefit riders can help policyholders customize a plan that makes sense for them; however, there are some factors to consider. Riders do increase the cost of a plan, which could be a...

Can you Take Out a Loan on a Term Life Insurance Policy as a Cancer Patient?

When it comes to life’s most expensive moments — college, a wedding, buying a house — many people turn to loans. Loans can also be used for not-so-happy moments, such as a medical crisis like cancer. With treatments, medications and lifestyle changes like lost wages, cancer financial assistance is vital for many patients, some of whom consider borrowing against a life insurance policy for some quick cash. There are a number of options for life insurance loans, which depend on the patient’s particular policy, as well as the details of his or her prognosis. A Different Approach to Borrowing Against Term Life Insurance Some life insurance companies will allow clients to draw on the cash value of their policy as a form of financial aid for cancer patients. The patient will be responsible for paying the loan back to the company, often at an interest rate of 5-9 percent. However, that option is only available for those with a permanent policy, or one that covers the policy holder for life, while term holders, those whose policies are designed for a set period of time, are ineligible. Even though term holders may have paid a significant amount into their policies, they’re not able to access that money in an emergency. Life Credit Company takes a different approach to life insurance...

Could Alcohol Raise Skin Cancer Risk?

Everyone has heard that exposure to the sun can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. But now researchers are exploring the possibility that something else many people encounter frequently could also be compromising their health. Significant alcohol consumption is widely accepted to be a health hazard, and could be putting people at increased risk for skin cancer. The link between alcohol and skin cancer has been a source for study for some time, and a team from Brown University and Harvard Medical School recently delved deeper into the topic. Researchers undertook a review of several-hundred studies focused on the link between alcohol consumption and the development of basal and squamous-cell carcinomas — the two primary forms of skin cancer — which included about 95,000 cases. According to the study, an increase of 10 grams a day in alcohol consumption can up a person’s risk for skin cancer. Specifically, that amount increases basal-cell risk by 7 percent and squamous-cell risk by 11 percent. To put those numbers in context, 10 grams of alcohol is less than just one standard beer or glass of wine. So, what does the research mean for cancer prevention? The study highlights the need for increased awareness about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. Unlike some genetic predispositions for cancer, alcohol consumption is behavior-related; the more people understand the link between drinking and skin cancer, the greater the likelihood they’ll avoid dangerous behaviors. While prevention is often targeted to populations who have never had a diagnosis, skin cancer is often a very survivable disease, and those who have beat it in the past should be...

The Financial Side Effect of Cancer

The side effects of cancer treatments are well-known: Some people may experience nausea, changes in weight and loss of hair from chemotherapy. Others may face loss of appetite, pain and fatigue from their pill regimens. Side effects can often be severe and can make a patient’s road to recovery seem blocked with obstacles and challenges. One roadblock that the cancer community is starting to consider as equally damaging as the physical side effects of treatment are the financial ones. The term “financial toxicity” is gaining increasing prominence among researchers and patients alike, as it describes the phenomenon of economic hardship caused by a cancer diagnosis. As more and more patients face financial struggles, however, programs are being developed to provide money for cancer patients — so they can focus on getting physically and financially health. Risk factors Like with physical side effects, some patients may be more vulnerable to financial struggles than others, including those who are: Uninsured Under-insured Unemployed Sole breadwinner for a family Lacking a savings The medical impact  While financial toxicity can weigh on the wallet, what can it do to a patient’s health? Increase stress, which has been linked to poorer treatment outcomes Cause the patient to alter a medication regimen or skip treatments in an attempt to save money, which can hinder recovery Create an overall poorer quality of life, which can put a patient at increased risk for mortality Combatting financial toxicity What can be done to fend off financial toxicity? To help patients close the financial gap caused by their diagnosis, services have been developed that provide money for cancer patients. Life...

Minorities Less Likely to Get Genetic Testing

It is an accepted truth that the availability of and access to affordable health care can have a significant impact on cancer patients’ care and health outcomes. Unfortunately, that means that many Americans are falling through the cracks. Minority communities statistically live in lower socioeconomic conditions, with less access to health care than white communities. High co-pays, medication costs and prohibitive hospital bills can discourage cancer patients from receiving the best care possible. While cancer financial assistance programs exist to help cancer patients navigate the financial burdens of cancer, the disproportionate impact of cancer on financially disadvantaged communities continues to be a serious challenge. A new study from the Yale University Cancer Center found that black and Hispanic women with breast cancer were less likely than white women to undergo a genetic test that can help doctors create an action plan. The report focused on Oncotype Dx, which helps doctors understand the genetic impact of early-stage breast cancer, information that can determine whether chemotherapy or other approaches would be most effective. The test can also suggest if the patient is at a high risk for recurrence once the cancer cells are eliminated. In a study of 8,000 Connecticut women, more than 51 percent of white women who would be good candidates for the test received it, compared to just 47 percent of Hispanic women and 44 percent of black women. The disparity was also present for women who didn’t fall within the guidelines for the test but received it anyway — 21 percent of white women, and just 9 percent of black and Hispanic women. While the test itself...

Insurance Isn’t a Cure All for Financial Help for Cancer Patients

Many people think that, as long as they have health insurance, they’ll be protected should a medical crisis like cancer occur. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. There is still a need for financial help for cancer patients. Being insured is not a guarantee that medical costs associated with cancer treatment will be covered. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network found in a new report that cancer patients with health insurance still face exorbitant out-of-pocket costs for everything from copays to out-of-network fees. The report revealed that cancer patients in the country paid about $4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2014. When it comes down to individual patients, the average payment was $6,000 for patients who are insured by their employer, or $10,000 for those on an Affordable Care Act plan. Many patients may seek a lower-premium plan to cut down on costs, but such programs often end up costing the patients more over time, as the insurance company expects patients to contribute more for individual visits and procedures. Plans that placed a cap on out-of-pocket costs significantly decreased the financial burden on patients, the report also found. Financial help for cancer patients not only improves their stress levels and emotional well-being but can actually lead to better physical outcomes. Research has found that physical health is closely linked to mental and emotional health; the more stress someone is under, the more likely he or she is to suffer from physical complications. Similarly, when one’s mental emotional outlook is positive, that reflects in their body, including in its capacity to fend off cancer. The power of financial health is at the...